Before I talk about Justin Hayward's performance Monday evening at Chicago's City Winery, I want to talk about Mike Dawes. Dawes performed a solo warmup act before Hayward's show. He is a guitar virtuoso who uses every bit of the instrument, moving his fingers and palms up and down the entire neck of the guitar to make his six-string sound like multiple twelve-strings. If you have a chance, he is worth seeing perform live.
Dawes was part of Justin Hayward's band during the main act, along with keyboardist Julie Ragins and flutist Karmen Gould, who all provided vocal harmonies.
Justin delighted the audience by opening his show with "Tuesday Afternoon" - a big hit for the Moody Blues. Justin was the lead vocalist and frontman for the popular progressive rock band. He played some of his solo compositions this evening, but the audience was most excited to hear the Moody Blues classics. Justin did not disappoint, performing "The Voice," "Never Comes the Day," "Your Wildest Dreams," and "Question." With each song, the crowd burst into cheers upon recognizing the opening chords.
When Hayward sang a beautiful version of the mega-hit "Nights in White Satin," we assumed that would close his show, but he remained for two more songs. He extended his set beyond two hours rather than leaving and returning for an encore.
At 77, Hayward still retains an impressive vocal range, and the music he made famous with the Moody Blues tested that voice this evening.
He impressed me and the sold-out audience.